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10-350-PHI (osha 10-44)
March 18, 2010
Contact: Diana Petterson
Phone: 202-693-1898
E-mail: petterson.diana@dol.gov

US Labor Department’s OSHA announces informal public hearing on hazard communication in Pittsburgh on March 31

PITTSBURGH -- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold an informal public hearing in Pittsburgh on March 31 regarding a proposed rule to align the agency’s Hazard Communication Standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The system provides a single, harmonized system to classify chemicals, labels and safety data sheets with the primary benefit of increasing the quality and consistency of safety information provided to workers, employers and chemical users. Inconsistencies in warnings, such as unfamiliar symbols and misunderstood hazard statements, could cause workers’ deaths.

This hearing is the second of two OSHA scheduled to accept comments about the HCS. The agency will consider participants’ comments in developing a proposed rule on aligning HCS and GHS. A number of countries, including the United States, along with stakeholder representatives and international organizations, participated in developing the GHS to address inconsistencies in hazard classification and communications.

The hearing will be held at the Marriott Pittsburgh City Center, 112 Washington Place in Pittsburgh, beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT. The hearing is open to the public for observation. A notice appeared in yesterday’s Federal Register and may be viewed at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-5790.htm.

Technical inquiries should be directed to Maureen Ruskin, OSHA, Office of Chemical Hazards-Metals, 202-693-1950. Media inquiries should be directed to Diana Petterson in the Labor Department’s Office of Public Affairs, who can be reached at 202-963-1898 or petterson.diana@dol.gov.

OSHA is cancelling a scheduled hearing on the same topic in Los Angeles, Calif., because the agency received only a few requests to appear to testify. The deadline for filing a notice of intention to appear was Jan. 18, 2010.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.


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